World runners rule mountain
Italian man, French woman win
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
Pikes Peak may be Americas mountain, but the Pikes Peak Marathon has gone global.
For the first time in the races 50-year history, international runners won the mens and womens marathons, both beating Colorado residents to do it Sunday.
Frances Corinne Favre, 34, ranked the worlds top womens high-altitude mountain runner, won the closest womens race in recent memory, with the top three finish- ers separated by 1:40 over the 26.21-mile race up and down Pikes Peak.
Favre, a ski instructor in the French Alps, passed adventure racer Danelle Ballengee and 2004 champion Erica Larson on the downhill portion to win in 4:31:20. Ballengee, 34, who grew up in Evergreen, was second in 4:31:36. Larson, the Los Alamos, N.M., scientist who has won five of the past six marathons, was third in 4:33.
Our elite runners have always wanted the competition, race director Ron Ilgen said.
Now theyve got it, especially in the mens race, in which four of the top six were overseas runners.
A fulltime policeman back home, Dapit is making his first trip to the United States.
It is a big, big country for me, he said, answering in English but having questions translated. Italy is a little one. But a mountain is a mountain in every kind of world.
Burrell had the home-mountain advantage, and it might have cost him.
He and Dapit were together at Barr Camp on the descent. Then Dapit opened a 2-minute gap when Burrell was forced to make a pit stop. Over the next five miles or so, Burrell sneaked closer and closer, but fans blew his cover. With about 1.5 miles to go, said Burrell, Dapit looked behind him and turned on the jets.
I think he heard people clapping for me, Burrell said, adding that recent racing in Europe took its toll on his legs. My legs just didnt have that bounce in them.
Dapit, Burrell and Favre, along with other international runners, compete on the Buff Skyrunner World Series a seven-race international circuit featuring marathon-type races at high altitude.
Last year, the Pikes Peak Marathon became the circuits American stop. The series provided $500 in prize money to the mens and womens winners Sunday.
In the womens race, Larson led a fast pace up the mountain but could not hold her lead downhill on rocks slick from Saturdays snow and hail above treeline.
I was just trying to get down in one piece, said Larson, who reached the top in 2:55. Favre was at the summit third in 2:58, behind Ballengee.
Ballengee, the four-time champion from 1994 to 1997, said her legs cramped on the way down.
I thought I was done, Ballengee said.
Favre hiked up Barr Trail on Saturday for her first look at the course. Third on the ascent, she took the lead halfway down, but Ballengee managed to loosen her legs and close the gap.
I see Danelle come. I said, I have to go, I have to go, Favre said. She did.
International runners are likely to make Pikes Peak a regular stop. Thats fine for the Americans. It seems like there was more depth this year, and it was great, Larson said.
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Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.